RPM Steak, River North's glitzy new steakhouse is pure decadence, from start to finish, with a price tag to match. The Kinzie Street space is handsome and mod. There's a bit of a mid-century vibe to the decor and you can sort of imagine Don Draper chain-smoking his way through a mostly liquid lunch at one of the luxe leather booths.
There's a definite air of sophistication at RPM Steak. The waiters are dressed in white jackets and there are lots of sharp-dressed hosts buzzing around with earpieces, orchestrating a grand show. The restaurant's reputationPresident Obama dined there in October and TV personality Giuliana Rancic is behind the placemakes you wonder what celebs might be dining at the next table, or more likely in one of the private dining rooms upstairs, where you'll never even catch a glimpse of them.
You can start your meal in traditional steakhouse fashion with a plate of Parker House rolls. At RPM Steak, the rolls are served on mini-silver cake stands, an indication of much pomp and circumstance to come. Or, jump right into the decadent meal with the three-cheese fondue and garlic bread. Generously oiled slices of toasted bread are propped up in a pool of rich melted cheese. The creamy mixture is spiked with plenty ( almost too much ) fresh garlic. The fondue is certainly tasty, but almost too heavy to come before a big steak dinner.
On the lighter side, there's plenty of fresh seafood to start off your meal, including a platter for $115 that includes lobster, shrimp, oysters and crab legs. If you're not dining on an expense account, try a salad instead. The Bibb and avocado salad is absolutely delightful, thanks to the addition of lots of fresh dill as well as some diced and marinated heirloom tomatoes nestled on the bottom.
If you're at RPM, you're there for the steakand there is a wide selection of cuts, making it difficult to choose. The good news is that you really can't go wrong when you're dealing with beef of this quality. The filet mignon is a no-brainer. I had to order mine well-done, not because I am insane, but because I am with child and therefore not allowed to eat "undercooked meat" ( along with a long list of other delicious things, sigh ). But even though I had to desecrate the darn thing with my cooking instructions, it came out beautifully charred on top but still crazy tender on the inside. A sprinkle of the house steak salt is the perfect way to draw out the juicy flavors of the beef. If you're really looking to indulge, wander on over to the wagyu section of the menu. The five-ounce Japanese A5 Miyazaki is one of the most beautifully marbled cuts I've laid eyes on, and cutting off a bite is like slicing through a stick of buttera $73 stick of butter.
Of course, you'll need some sides to accompany your pricey slabs of beef, and there are plenty of tempting ones. The Brussels sproutswhich are shredded, slathered with olive oil and studded with baconare fantastic. The intriguing-sounding "Millionaire's Potato" pairs nicely with the steaks. It's an oversized double-baked spud topped with a thick layer of fontina and nearly as thick a layer of shaved black truffles. The flavors are rich and delicious, but it verges on gluttonous, as does its $18 price tag.
It's hard not to stuff yourself with meat and potatoes, but try to save some room for dessertit's one of the more whimsical and enjoyable parts of the meal. The popcorn, peanuts and chocolate is an absolute delight ( in an edible chocolate bowl! ). Beneath a large scoop of vanilla ice cream hides surprise after sweet surprise. There's a layer of chocolate-y cookie crumb crust, some crunchy peanut brittle and, best of all, some light-as-air peanut-butter cream on the bottom. If you're celebrating a special occasion, you will be presented with a platter of pouffy blueberry flavored cotton candy, a few bites of which is a fun and relaxed way to end a serious meal. In fact, the other courses could benefit from some of the lightness and playfulness that dessert brings.
RPM Steak is at 66 W. Kinzie St.; call 312-284-4990 or visit www.rpmsteak.com .
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